Birla Institute of Technology & Science (shortened BITS or Bits Pilani) is an Indian institute of higher education and a deemed university under Section 3 of the UGC Act. The university has 15 academic departments, and focuses primarily on undergraduate education in engineering and the sciences. It is widely known as the best private engineering institute of India. The institute was established in its present form in 1964. During this period, the institute’s transformation from a regional engineering college to a national university was backed by G.D. Birla. BITS has established centres at Goa, Pilani, Hyderabad and Dubai. There are two more proposed BITS centres coming up at Vizag and Bhubaneswar. BITS administers the all-India computerised competitive entrance examination, BITSAT (BITS Admission Test),Admission is merit-based, as assessed by the BITSAT examination.The fully residential institute is privately supported.
The Birla Education Trust was founded in 1929; the intermediate college became a degree college and later offered postgraduate courses. The masters programme in electronics began in 1955. Reacting to criticism about the project, Drew said:
In my judgment to attempt to develop an American institution in India would be like trying to graft apples on a pine tree. We have not been asked to make such an attempt. We were asked to help devise in India an Indian technological school to produce graduates with the know-how to produce knowledge pertinent for India…. In many respects they consider us immature, rude, hypocritical barbarians who in certain respects happened to hit it lucky. To be viable in India an institution must be framed with Indian values in mind.
In 1964, the Birla Colleges of Humanities, Commerce, Engineering, Pharmacy and Science were merged to form the Birla Institute of Technology & Science. The board provided direction in developing a curriculum, selecting equipment, upgrading the library and recruiting (and training) an Indian faculty. To quicken the pace of reform he convinced C. R. Mitra to be the new director of the institute. Mitra advocated a “practice school” internship program as a requirement for faculty and students. The Practice School Program is still a requirement for students in BITS. According to Robert Kargon and Stuart Leslie:
BITS offered an opportunity to build a leading technological university in India responsive to India’s goals, to produce practising engineers who will be in a position to graduate and to build industries in India, under Indian conditions. With its emphasis on the Practice School and ties to Indian industry, it helped educate Indian industrialists along with Indian engineers who would remain in India, in contrast to many other engineering colleges in India, most of whose graduates would leave the country after obtaining their basic engineering education. The Ford Foundation Evaluators…proudly noted that the Indian government, despite having given no direct financial support, was looking to BITS to provide a model for future development in education in engineering and science in India.
BITS Pilani became a deemed university established under Section 3 of the UGC Act, 1956 by notification No. F.12-23/63.U-2 of 18 June 1964. The acceptance rate of BITS Pilani is 1.47% based on the data of BITSAT 2012.
In 1999, enrollment expanded from 2,500 to 4,000 and campuses were founded in Dubai (2000) and Goa (2004). In 2006, BITS Pilani acquired 200 acres (81 ha) of land from the Andhra Pradesh government through the Hyderabad Urban Development Authority for a new campus. The land is located in Jawaharnagar, Shameerpet Mandal in the Rangareddy district. The BITS Pilani Hyderabad campus opened in 2008; the school also has a virtual university and an extension center in Bangalore.
Chancellor and academic head
BITS Pilani has a tradition of long-serving chancellors and vice-chancellors. Its founder, G.D. Birla, was chancellor from the college’s inception until his death in 1983. He was followed by his son, Krishna Kumar Birla, who was chancellor until his death in 2008. Currently, Kumar Mangalam Birla is chancellor and Shobhana Bhartia is pro-chancellor. The first academic head of the institution was J. C. Stracliff (Principal) and V. Lakshminarayanan (Vice-Principal) for a period of 3 years during 1946-1949. V. Lakshminarayan became Principal of Birla Engineering College in 1949 (served from 1946 to 1963 in Birla Engineering College), then becoming the first Director of BITS-Pilani in 1964 when it was formed and served till 1969. He was succeeded by BITS directors C.R. Mitra (1969–1989) and S. Venkateswaran (1989–2006). With the advent of multiple campuses the overall head was known as “vice-chancellor”; “director” denoted the head of a campus. Prof. L.K. Maheshwari became the first vice-chancellor in 2006 and kept office till 2010 when he was succeeded by Prof. Bijendra Nath Jain who held office till 2015. The director of BITS Pilani, Hyderabad campus, Prof. VS Rao took over in August 2015 as the ‘Acting Vice chancellor’ while the search was on for a suitable candidate to hold the top post in BITS Pilani. In April 2016, Chancellor Kumar Mangalam Birla announced that Prof. Souvik Bhattacharya of IIT Kharagpur / Jadavpur University was selected to take over as the new Vice chancellor of BITS Pilani. He is stated to take over in June 2016 to become the 6th academic head of the institute. BITSAA international
- Pilani Campus
- Dubai Campus
- Goa Campus
- Hyderabad Campus